29 September 2017

A View of St Pauls from Bankside – 1917 and 2017

Earlier this year I bought a marvellous trial proof of an etching by Leslie Moffat Ward, entitled "Before St Paul's". It shows the a 1917 view of St Paul's from Bankside.
That means it's one hundred years old.


Intrigued by this major milestone I took some photos in an effort to compare Leslie's view with what we have today; first from the riverside and then from the terrace at that arty place.
On that day I had been to see the Giacometti exhibition which I was sad to discover was ultimately disappointing – so much repetition. It appears the poor man got stuck in a rut.
As for the converted power station, I have written about it in the past – it has now been open for 17 years and still there is no signage to direct the visitor to where the bloody art is and still it feels foreboding like an institution or cold-hearted work environment. It's a vast shed of a place with no humanity. And when you buy your tickets that's all you get; a ticket. No verbal directions, no leaflet – just a diagram on the wall that looks like something from the Crystal Maze.
I really don't like that art has to be commissioned to fill the central space. I am told that the "ooh look at me; I'm so arty and deconstructed" extension at the rear offers great views (yawn) but in my view they wouldn't have needed to spend all that dosh on a damn extension had they made proper use of the gaping hole in the building that's already there.
Grr.
Breathe.
Back to Leslie Moffat Ward – that's art that is. Back to the comparison images – look at how busy the foreshore was back then compared to today's view – gone are the boats, the workmen and almost all of the old riverside buildings. I find this such a shame. I would love to be able to time travel for a while to see and experience for myself what it was like back then.
It's been commented how similar in style Leslie's work is to his contemporaries, namely William Lionel Wyllie, Noel Woodward Spencer and William Walcot.
Many other lovely etchings, sketches and paintings can be found at Atelier – the gallery specialises in artworks that feature London, as well as Paris, New York and Venice and the Channel Islands (the gallery is in Jersey). On the same day I purchased the LMW proof I also snapped up a wonderfully evocative Longstaff etching of Trafalgar Square.
I am really tempted by a few others... see you at the next art fair...

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